Apocalyptic Fear-mongering: Sometimes Rush Limbaugh is Right!

By Jim Steele,director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed I would or could utter the words of my title. As a left-leaning young ecologist, I hated the way Limbaugh painted all environmentalists as “whackos”! I was a strong believer in the Endangered Species Act as a law that would ensure people stopped to consider win-win solutions for humans and all other species. I believed conservation science could guide us toward wise environmental stewardship, and when married to innovative entrepreneurial endeavors, we could build a better world for all. As director of a university environmental field station, I met people of all political persuasions eager to enjoy and protect the environment, and I believed both the left and right would rally around sound environmental science. So why did Rush label us as whackos? I saw Limbaugh’s polarizing polemics as an attack on the environment. But now I must agree with Rush’s recent view that “Apocalyptic, Fear-Mongering Accelerates the Decline of Our Culture”. In his critique of a newly published paper, “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction” (hereafter Ceballos and Ehrlich 2015), Rush correctly points out that it is just another example of apocalyptic fear mongering that drives some people into hopeless despair, while forcing others to ignore scientists’ steady drone that the end of the world is before us.

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The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

By Matt Ridley – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com
(Note: due to the length of this essay, I am only including paragraph excerpts here. See the link at the end for the full essay. – Anthony)

Thanks largely to climate science, bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas. For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science. Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.

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